Brigid's Path weighs in on new CDC numbers detailing pregnant women and addiction

Brigid's Path weighs in on new CDC numbers detailing pregnant women and addiction (WKEF/WRGT)

MIAMI VALLEY, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - A disturbing trend between pregnant woman and opioid addiction was recently revealed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The agency found the trend quadrupled over a 15-year period between 1999 and 2014. However, Miami Valley agencies believe the numbers don't tell the whole story.

On a rainy Wednesday afternoon inside Brigid's Path, staff watch over five babies in their care. So far, the nonprofit has seen 23 babies come and go in the eight months it's been operational. Brigid's Path is a newborn recovery center that provides short-term, inpatient care in a home-like setting for newborns suffering from prenatal drug exposure. The facility also provides wrap-around services for families.

"We're really proud to say that none of our babies have had to go to foster care," Executive Director Jill Kingston said.

Babies who end up at to the nonprofit are referred by hospitals and children's services organizations. Seeing local trends among pregnant women being addicted to opioids, the latest CDC report verified what Kingston already knew.

"We were seeing those kind of numbers anyway," she told FOX 45. "I was really hoping to see numbers that were more recent."

However, consistently compiling data across all 50 states is difficult. FOX 45 looked at multiple reports where Ohio's data is incomplete or missing.

"I wish in Ohio that we could really have the numbers tracked well, so that we could get a full picture of what the complexity is that we're dealing with."

According to data from the Guttmacher Institute, a non-partisan women's policy organization, only eight state require health care professionals to test for prenatal drug exposure if they suspect it. Ohio is not one of those states. Ohio does require health care professionals to report the mom if drug exposure is suspected. Drug use during pregnancy is also considered child abuse in Ohio and 22 other states, including the District of Columbia.

For Kingston, the work they do in the Miami Valley is another option for moms to avoid losing custody of their children.

"We've been able to engage moms and keep them engaged," she said.

Family involvement is what drives success against the epidemic, and community funding is what keeps the fight going.

Brigid’s Path is funded through the generosity of donations and grants. To donate or get involved, click here.

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